In recent weeks, we have seen increased scrutiny over the future of Adobe Flash particularly in the advertising community. Most notably, Chrome and Firefox have pre-emptively blocked Flash components in an effort to improve consumer experience. Facebook’s new chief security officer wants to end of life Flash. The Chrome team recently announced that the upcoming release of its browser will pause nonessential Flash components by default.  Similarly, Mozilla caused an uproar in the advertising community by blocking all legacy versions of Flash within the Firefox browser due to security vulnerabilities (this has since been resolved by the most recent version of Flash).

Flash Ad
A side-by-side comparison of a Flash ad and the same ad recreated in Flite's HTML5 Design Studio. Note that on some browsers the Flash ad may not display.

Why all the fuss?

Together Chrome and Firefox comprise ~40% of desktop browser share. The anticipated growth of these browsers and their movement away from Flash support leaves many advertisers wondering how many eyeballs will be able to see their Flash ads.

Desktop Browser Market Share

What is the alternative?

HTML5 offers a compelling alternative to Flash ads. From a functional perspective, HTML5 offers much of the same animation available in Flash. While these animations are often executed via a sequential series of actions (as opposed to a timeline as they are presented in Flash), HTML5 offers comparable functionality with other significant advantages.

The primary advantage of HTML5 is cross-screen compatibility.  Advertisers can build an ad once in HTML5 and run it across mobile and desktop environments.  Conversely, none of the major mobile platforms support Flash by default. This frequently requires Flash ads to revert to poor fall-back experiences such as static images.

Beyond this, HTML5 offers CSS style and font inheritance capabilities necessary for seamless native advertising experiences.  HTML5 also provides a framework for more programmatically-driven creative executions that align with the needs of programmatic media buyers. HTML5 offers a platform for innovation that is better suited for the emerging trends in digital advertising.

How do I make the switch?

There are a number of tools that can assist advertisers in their transition from Flash to HTML5. Adobe Flash Professional CC can actually publish out a converted HTML5-compatible animation. Google’s Swiffy will convert existing Flash files to HTML5 compliant assets as well. However, these tools should be viewed as a bridge to HTML5 not as a solution. Converting a Flash file to HTML5 instead of natively authoring an ad in HTML5 often forces an advertiser to compromise over the level of in-unit metrics available. Additionally, these tools frequently use bloated libraries which make converted ads heavier which contributes to lower performance.

Flite has been a long-standing proponent of HTML5. We serve nearly 85% of our ad impression in HTML5 and have focused on empowering advertisers to build natively in HTML5. Flite has built a comprehensive set of tools to create ads which meet or exceed the capabilities of Flash and deliver content, such as video, to mobile environments. Our Professional Services team can also assist in translating legacy Flash assets to HTML5-compliant ads. For those looking to expand their HTML5 skill set, Flite offers free basic and advance training courses in HTML5 authoring.

Regardless of your opinion of Flash, it is undeniable that the future of HTML5 looks bright. Join Flite today to learn more.